Peter Bye

A sense of perspective

As I write, the political parties in the UK are beginning their campaigns for a general election, to be held on the 12th December. It’s the first December general election since 1923; December elections are generally avoided because of the weather and small amounts of daylight. The past few weeks have seen the government agree… » read more

Posted by pbye

Since the referendum, we have heard from many leavers and some remainers that the vote was democratic and we must respect it. In recent weeks, the attitude of the Brexiteers has become somewhat shrill. We are told that the vote represents the will of the people[1]. There is increasing pressure for a second vote with… » read more

Posted by pbye

Is liberalism obsolete?

In an interview with the Financial Times[1], Vladimir Putin claimed that liberalism was obsolete: ‘…the Russian president said “the liberal idea” had “outlived its purpose” as the public turned against immigration, open borders and multiculturalism’. He made the following statement. ‘This liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done (about immigration). That migrants can… » read more

Posted by pbye

The UK has lived in interesting times since my previous post on 20th February. The Brexit date has been postponed twice and now sits at 31st October 2019. Yet another Conservative Prime Minister has been destroyed by the Europe question: Theresa May joins Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron as the latest victim. And… » read more

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Governing the UK

In September 2017, I posted a blog called ‘The rise of the kakistocracy’. Kakistocracy means government by the worst[1]: the most incompetent people are in power. When I wrote the piece, there was no shortage of candidate kakistocracies; Venezuela and Zimbabwe provided two rather extreme examples out of many. But what about the western democracies?… » read more

Posted by pbye

Opinions about Brexit can be divided into two broad groups: those that I will call ideology-based and those that are evidence-based. The dominant opinion in the first group is the question of sovereignty. It was a significant factor in the 2016 referendum and continues to motivate many of those favouring Brexit. It can be countered… » read more

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Fundamental questions

Broadly speaking, scientific research takes two forms. One is applied research, which aims at practical results, such as more efficient and smaller batteries, or electricity generation from solar power. The other form is fundamental research, which is driven by curiosity and aims to expand human knowledge without any specific practical goal in mind. However, fundamental… » read more

Posted by pbye

As the dust settles over the wreckage left by President Trump’s visit to Europe, two things have caught my attention. The first concerns his attitude to the allies of the US, in the form of NATO and members of the EU. He gave everyone a hard time but I noticed – perhaps I am alone… » read more

Posted by pbye